My name is Clara Fishel and I am an intern with the Rural Hall office of Carolina Farm Credit. I am a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Agriculture Science with a minor in Agriculture Business Management and a specialization in Animal Science.
All my life I have been involved in sports. I played softball through high school and showcase and on the NCSU club team and began coaching when injuries ended my playing career. I began flying planes at the age of 14 and am a few exams away from receiving my private pilot’s license. I grew up in agriculture. My family raises and shows Polled Hereford cattle, makes hay and soybeans and collects and restores International Harvester tractors and farm equipment. We are a very close knit family and I have always put my family and my faith before everything else, much like Carolina Farm Credit prioritizes: Faith, Family, and Farm Credit, which was a big factor in me choosing this internship.
In the three weeks I have been with Carolina Farm Credit and the Rural Hall office, I have had the opportunity to experience a little of everything. During my first full week, the group of interns and new hires got to tour the sprawling estate that is Metrolina Greenhouses. The Metrolina staff played the part of gracious hosts, giving us a behind the scenes look at how a major player in the multi-billion dollar industry runs so efficiently. From the sewing room where the seeds are planted to tagging and shipment, we followed the flowers through their life at Metrolina. Much like Disney World, you just can’t see it all in one day. Of the massive 6.5 million square feet of enclosed, heated greenhouses and 16 acres of outdoor growing space, we saw only a glimpse of what all goes into play. It was an eye opening experience and I will never be able to look at potted flowers the same again.
Just two days later, we were invited to attend an event hosted by the Wilkes Area Poultry Association. Given the choice between four events including outdoor games, fishing, golf or skeet shooting, Hope Strickland and I chose skeet shooting while all the men went golfing. We obviously had more fun! The shoot was held at Hunting Creek Preserves in Harmony, NC.. Regardless of experience level, we joined a group and took on the trap course. We had an absolute blast (pun intended) and made some great professional connections across a wide range of industries. It was a great way to get out of the office and support an organization in the agriculture industry and do some valuable networking. After collecting business cards and contact information, and some company hats, we were invited to another shooting fundraiser event. We apparently made quite the impression!
The very next day we celebrated the retirement of Angie Swaim after 35 years of service at Carolina Farm Credit. It seemed like half the company attended the retirement party and everyone was incredibly friendly and very eager to tell stories and give advice to me and the new hires. In just the few weeks I have been here I have seen the span from new hires to retirement and I understand how it would be so easy to stay in one place with one company for 35 years when there is a family atmosphere as strong as the one here at Carolina Farm Credit.
It’s amazing to me how quickly the Rural Hall office has taken me in as part of their little work family. As Christina Queen said, “it feels like you’ve been here for two years, not two weeks.” I have learned so much in the short amount of time I have been here; little things like how to run the copier to the big things like credit scoring, loan policies, calculations and more. I am excited to continue to learn from the incredible mentors here in Rural Hall and I am proud to be apart of a company like Carolina Farm Credit.
To read more about Carolina Farm Credit, our members and the ag industry, check out issues of our Leader magazine—you can read them online.
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